A view of North Korea’s east coast from the Goseong Unification Observation Tower on the Goseong hiking trail in Gangwon Province (KTO)
Eleven hiking trails along the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas, will open to the public next month.
DMZ Peace Trail routes in 10 regions -- Ganghwado, Gimpo, Goyang, Paju, Yeoncheon, Cheorwon, Hwacheon, Yanggu, Inje and Goseong -- will be fully open from Sept. 13 to December, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Goseong has two trails.
Online reservations start Tuesday. Each trail has different dates and time slots available, with a maximum of 20 people for each slot. Participants will be selected by lottery 14 days before the designated dates if a slot is fully booked.
A reservation fee of 10,000 won will be charged and refunded later with local gift certificates or regional products.
All routes include sections where participants travel by car, with cooperation from the military bases, to ensure the safety of participants and to protect wildlife.
A view of North Korea’s Gaepung-gun from the Ganghwa Peace Observatory on the Ganghwado hiking trail in Incheon (KTO)
Some of the popular courses include Goseong with its view of Geumgangsan, Paju, which starts at Imjingak Pavilion and leads to a demolished guard post via the Dorasan Observatory, and Ganghwado and Gimpo, which are relatively close to the Seoul Metropolitan area.
The government previously opened three hiking routes in Cheorwon, Goseong and Paju on a trial basis in April 2019, but temporarily closed them after five months due to the outbreak of African swine fever, which was then followed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program reopened with seven routes in November 2021, but closed after about a month to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
More information and online reservations will be available from Tuesday at DMZ Peace Trail’s official website, run by the Korea Tourism Organization.
By Hwang Dong-Hee (firstname.lastname@example.org